The public television station at Rogers State University is teaming up with the Cherokee Nation to help people learn the tribe's native language.

They're airing a full curriculum for anyone who wants to learn in an effort to help preserve the Cherokee language.

Students, the Cherokee Nation and the college all worked together to build the new way of preserving the Cherokee language.

The first lesson from "Cherokee 1" broadcast to RSU-TV viewers Monday, introducing them to some basics of the language.

"It is a fantastic day because as a public TV station, this is what we're supposed to be doing - education. And this is why we're doing things like this, particularly partnering with the Cherokee Nation. I absolutely love it,” RSU Public TV General Manager Royal Aills said.

Aills said students helped produce and edit 48 lessons with instructor Wade Blevins. Anyone looking to learn the language can earn a certificate, or college credit.

"We are the only public TV station in the country doing this,” Aills said. “Because we believe it's important. We want engagement."

"Cherokee speakers are getting fewer and father between,” Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor (District 14) Keith Austin said.

Austin said there are only a couple thousand known proficient Cherokee speakers. He is hopeful this program could help that number grow in the next generation.

"It's actually entertaining to watch. It's something that's engaging to watch. It's something that is not, you don't feel just like you're learning. You feel like you're involved in something,” Austin said.

Aills said the course will help reach people living in rural areas who may not have high-speed internet.

The lessons will air every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:00 p.m. and continue every semester for years to come.

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